Saudi Arabia announces collaboration with ITU to support global AI cooperation

SDAIA and ITU signed an agreement on Thursday to support global AI cooperation. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 22 October 2020

Saudi Arabia announces collaboration with ITU to support global AI cooperation

  • The ITU’s secretary-general said the agency looked forward to working with SDAIA
  • The MoU aims to make AI best practices available to all, develop initiatives and optimize the benefits of AI

LONDON: The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) signed an agreement on Thursday to support global AI cooperation.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed on the second day of the Global AI Summit hosted in Riyadh, aims to make AI best practices available to all, develop initiatives and optimize the benefits of AI.
It will also help to develop an internationally recognized system for countries to mobilize resources and provide assistance for official agencies that want to adopt AI technologies, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The President of SDAIA Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi welcomed the agreement.
“The ITU will share best practices in the field of AI with the Kingdom. This will help in shedding light on how to sponsor and support emerging companies and new incubators in the national space, especially as there is no official framework that currently exists to support the AI readiness of countries and international cooperation,” Al-Ghamdi said.
The ITU’s secretary-general said the UN agency looked forward to working with SDAIA to develop projects and initiatives that will accelerate progress toward achieving sustainable development goals and promoting AI as a force for good.
“We dream of a world where nations harness the power of AI together, where we all exchange ideas and best practices, where we collaborate to unlock the full potential of AI,” Houlin Zhao said.
“With AI impacting every aspect of today and tomorrow, collaboration is needed more than ever,” the secretary-general added.


Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%

Updated 03 December 2020

Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%

  • The rate of economic growth reached about 1.8 percent — less than the population growth rate
  • A plan to control population increase will begin in January 2021

CAIRO: The volume of public investment in Egypt grew by 70 percent in the 2020/2021 fiscal year, reaching 595 billion Egyptian pounds ($37.9 billion), Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Saeed has said.

In a speech at the Egypt Economic Summit 2020, she said that Egypt could become one of only three economies across the Middle East to achieve economic growth this year.

The growth followed reforms that helped make the Egyptian economy “more flexible” and “able to absorb external shocks,” she said.

Al-Saeed said Egypt faced great challenges that led to imbalances in the monetary, financial and external axes, which caused a decline in Egyptian economic indicators. The rate of economic growth reached about 1.8 percent — less than the population growth rate.

The minister added that a plan to control population increase will begin in January 2021, as Egypt’s population is expected to grow by 2.5 million annually and reach 130 million in 2030.

Al-Saeed said that achieving development requires sustained economic progress to overcome weak population growth and the challenges facing the Egyptian economy in light of political and economic changes and the coronavirus pandemic.

The challenge helped Egypt commit to reforms based on comprehensive planning and an ambitious vision for the future, in the form of Egypt’s Vision 2030 sustainable development strategy, the minister said.

Egypt’s implementation of reforms since November 2016 led to “overall stability” and “comprehensive growth.” This was reflected in positive indicators that the Egyptian economy saw before the coronavirus outbreak, she added.

The rate of economic growth was about 5.6 percent in the first half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, and about 5 percent during the third quarter. There was an average growth of 5.4 percent in the first nine months of the year, before the coronavirus outbreak.

Al-Saeed said that international institutions had “positive expectations” regarding the Egyptian economy.

She referred to the results of the World Economic Outlook report issued by the International Monetary Fund in October 2020, in which the Fund raised its expectations for Egypt’s gross domestic product growth to 3.5 percent for the year, compared with a previous forecast of 2 percent in the June report.

If the prediction is realized, it will make Egypt among only three economies in the Middle East and Central Asia to achieve economic growth this year.